So-called Morning People have the advantage in life. Even with digital connectivity enabling 24-hour business worldwide, people who wake up in the morning bright and early–especially bright–have a productivity edge in the workplace over those who don’t quite get going until lunch time. This is yet another life habit for which I can thank my parents, each in a different way.
My mother, in hopes of encouraging a musical prodigy, secured piano lessons for my older sister and me (and eventually our younger sister as well). This brought along the necessity of practice. Mom determined that my sister and I should practice for one hour each before school. Realistically, who could expect a kid to come home from school and immediately sit down at the piano for an hour? Practice at 5 a.m. was far more enforceable. And so she did. And so we did.
I can only imagine my mother wincing as she lay awake in bed listening to the endless, and often careless, repetitions of Hannon scales or “The Happy Farmer.” By the time we got to Chopin, Haydn, and de Falla, waking up early was inevitable and morning practice more endurable. I’m sure the playing got better, although nothing like a prodigy ever emerged.
As for my dad… During his career as an Air Force officer and sometime pilot, Dad was all about getting an early start. Every family journey began with “wheels up” at the crack of dawn, if not before. This may actually be a generic “dad thing.” In any event, I’m still given to buying those thrifty plane tickets that require us to be at the gate at six in the morning. Morning people can be irritating for this and many other reasons.
So, cue up the coffee pot to be perking early. Just like me.
How she complains against the metronome
let loose to discipline her clever hands.
It changes! she insists, when accents roam
awkwardly from the measure it demands,
while she, hurrying over the notes she knows,
or gingerly laggard at the tricky part,
asserts her independence as she goes
after the heedless rhythms of her heart.
This tension teaches how my will may go
stubborn and reckless while the beat is clear,
halting or quick, precipitate or slow,
despite instruction clicking in my ear,
until at last my little tune is done
and time unmeasured makes all tempos one.
Barbara Loots–published in The Lyric